The Flaws and Shortcomings of Ron Paul

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Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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148 Responses

  1. Avatar Tim says:

    Anyone who has listened to Ron Paul speak knows this article is baseless. Dr. Paul is America’s only hope.Report

  2. Avatar kenB says:

    Re the Yglesias quote, I don’t see why being against legal abortions is anti-libertarian — however you feel about it, it’s ultimately about competing interests. Similarly with immigration — if it’s OK for libertarians to accept the concept of a nation (and thus the drawing of boundaries and the distinction between citizens and non-citizens), then why shouldn’t it be OK for them to argue for stronger border control?Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to kenB says:

      This is interesting. Is it possible that libertarians could go either way on these issues and make a strong libertarian case for their position? It seems to me like they could. I guess maybe it’s an updating of the old Socratic question: is this position a defense of liberty because a libertarian holds it, or do they hold it because it’s in defense of liberty?Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Rufus F. says:

        If I remember correctly, The League’s own Jason Kuznicki is pro-life, and certainly libertarian.Report

        • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Chris says:

          Really? I didn’t think Jason was pro-life. I think abortion is horrible, personally, but I’m not about to say the state should (or even could) prevent it. Black market and DIY abortions scare me more than legal and safe ones.Report

          • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to E.D. Kain says:

            I’m not actually pro-life. I’m uneasily pro-choice.

            I don’t write much on the topic because I am very conflicted, and I find my conclusions are not much worth repeating.

            As to the question of which position is more libertarian, or more properly libertarian, it’s also very difficult to say. Because I care a great deal about and feel myself more certain about the clearly libertarian issues, I would also prefer not to divide the libertarian movement, such as it is, by voicing my opinions on abortion too loudly. As a group, I am not sure we libertarians even have the ideological apparatus at hand to reach a consensus on it.Report

            • Avatar NoPublic in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

              Shorter: I’m more interested in cash money issues and I don’t want to muddy the water with things like actual bodily (property) integrity and privacy issues.

              And you wonder why people think all L’s are R’s in poorly-stitched sheepskins.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to NoPublic says:

                And you wonder why people think all L’s are R’s in poorly-stitched sheepskins.

                Is it because I went out of my way to correct the record, and make clear that I’m pro-choice? Is that why I’m a Republican?Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

                I think NoPublic’s point is that many many libertarians will say, “Oh sure, I’m pro-choice, all for gay marriage, and need some civil liberties restored, but taxes are way too high, so I’ll vote for Perry over Obama.”Report

              • Avatar NoPublic in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Ding Ding Ding!

                There’s an odd parallel to the discussion on green energy, Prius drivers, algore being fat and so on over in the “Global Climate WTF?” thread.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to NoPublic says:

                If it makes you feel better, I haven’t the slightest intention of voting for Perry.

                I don’t imagine it will, but I thought I’d throw it out there. Hope springs eternal.Report

              • Avatar NoPublic in reply to NoPublic says:

                If it makes you feel better, I haven’t the slightest intention of voting for Perry.

                I don’t imagine it will, but I thought I’d throw it out there. Hope springs eternal.

                That depends. Do you plan on throwing your vote away on a 3rd party player or will you be voting for someone who might actually be elected?Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to NoPublic says:

                That depends. Do you plan on throwing your vote away on a 3rd party player or will you be voting for someone who might actually be elected?

                Let’s consider all of the facts on the table.

                –I live in Maryland, which will almost certainly give its electoral votes to Obama, with or without me.

                –I do not expect the national popular vote initiative to reach its tipping point before the election, but I’m ready to rethink things if it does.

                –Even with NPV, my individual vote is unlikely to matter, except perhaps as a statement.

                –Third-party candidates often make the clearest “statement” choice of all.

                –I am more likely to vote for the Libertarian Party than for any other third party I know of.

                –I don’t know the LP nominee yet.

                Adding it all up, I’m not even sure I’ll vote. I could stay home, I could vote LP, I might vote Republican in the unlikely event Johnson or Paul win the nomination. I don’t see much that might motivate me to vote for Obama, because I don’t judge that either my statement in voting for him or my single vote in an NPV system (if we get one) will matter much, and I know for a fact that I’m not helping him win any electoral votes to stop — say — Michele Bachmann.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to NoPublic says:

                Do you plan on throwing your vote away on a 3rd party player or will you be voting for someone who might actually be elected?

                This question pisses me off and I’ll tell you why.

                In 1996, I went to a friend’s house to play some games with my gaming group on election night. The dad asked us who we voted for and one of the other guys in the group said “I didn’t vote” and I said “Harry Browne”.

                I tell you truly: The dad looked at me and said “You threw your vote away.”

                I pointed at my bud and said “He throw his vote away! I voted! I voted for Harry Browne!”

                The dad said “Okay, sure.”

                The game and the election results continued.

                I say again to you what I told my other bud’s dad:

                He threw his vote away. I voted 3rd party.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to NoPublic says:

                Second what Jaybird said. Your vote doesn’t count extra-super-special-more just because you picked a winning candidate.

                It might feel good to have backed a winner, but that’s immaterial.Report

              • Avatar NoPublic in reply to NoPublic says:

                What incentive does Obama have to adopt policies you’re more likely to approve of if you’re never going to vote for him anyway?

                Given the number of 3rd party representatives and senators we have and the probability that we will ever have a 3rd party president unless we reform the electoral system you would, indeed, be throwing your vote away.

                You think anyone looks at the 0.006% vote for the Constitution Party and thinks “Well now, there’s a statement”. No. They think “Nutters. What were they hoping to accomplish there?” Vote for spite or as a statement if you like but I don’t see how it moves the political compass at all.

                Maybe you have a notion there that I’ve missed.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to NoPublic says:

                What incentive does Obama have to adopt policies you’re more likely to approve of if you’re never going to vote for him anyway?

                I don’t imagine that my vote is an incentive to him. As I said, I live in a solidly blue state, and we don’t (yet) have a national popular vote.Report

              • Avatar NoPublic in reply to NoPublic says:

                Well then, what incentive does a hypothetical Republican have to trend more towards Liberty if you’re willing to vote for Paul?

                Or more generally, how do you feel your vote is actually advancing your political causes? Or has any effect whatsoever?Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to NoPublic says:

                I agree on both points. I don’t see that libertarians of my persuasion have much pull on Republicans. And I don’t think that my vote has much influence either, not even on the margin. Depressing, I know. C’est la vie.Report

              • Avatar NoPublic in reply to NoPublic says:

                Ergo, “thrown away”. Q.E.D.

                Thence comes my desire to have more L’s apply pressure to D’s rather than capitulate to R’s. I fear it’s a lost cause as long as it might result in one less beer a week for anyone though.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Still, it beats being a Log Cabin Republican: “Sure they demonize people like me and pass constitutional amendments that take away what few rights I’ve got, but my tax rate did go down two points.”Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Well, let’s be honest here. I have questions about any person earning under ~250k voting Republican, but that would probably be too blunt.Report

    • Avatar Ryan B in reply to kenB says:

      I think it’s hard to make a genuinely libertarian argument for border control. Whose rights are violated by immigration? How do you work the Harm Principle into this?

      The best you can do, I think, is make a case that, because of the welfare state, more immigration blah blah taxes blah blah guns. Something like that. But it’s not really libertarian in a deep sense.Report

      • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Ryan B says:

        Ryan – agreed. The welfare state argument strikes me as a huge dodge and also just wrong.Report

        • Avatar MFarmer in reply to E.D. Kain says:

          The welfare state argument for border control was Friedman’s argument, by the way.Report

          • Avatar Ryan B in reply to MFarmer says:

            Be that as it may, it’s not really a very libertarian argument. It’s a “best I can do given the welfare state” kind of argument that may appeal to libertarians. There’s a difference.Report

          • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to MFarmer says:

            You’re right, Mike. It’s still a stupid argument. People can be both right and wrong, smart and dumb, depending on the issue.Report

            • Avatar MFarmer in reply to E.D. Kain says:

              Yes, I know, but given Friedman and others, including myself, like Paul believe that open borders in a welfare state is economic suicide, I’d say the idea is not so dumb. It takes more than calling it dumb or a dodge to refute the assertion. Common sense tells us the more people we add to the welfare roles, the faster we’ll collapse. It would even be a magnet for welfare recipients to open the borders and maintain a welfare state. No one will allow congress to simply say they can’t access welfare — they would still overload our healthcare system at least. It’s true that many immigrants will add to the workforce and productivity, but it also opens the door to supporting a lot more people on welfare. Without some discrimination on immigration, it’s asking for disaster.Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to MFarmer says:

                Why is illegal immigration suicide in a welfare state? That seems like a huge assertion with very little evidence to back it up. Immigrants pay all sorts of taxes, buy lots of things, help fill jobs, etc. etc. etc. I fail to see how this in any way negatively impacts our welfare state. They also use fewer healthcare services on average and pay into systems like SS that they don’t benefit from. I mean, where is the loss for America here?Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to E.D. Kain says:

                You say illegal immigration, but we’re talking about open borders.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to MFarmer says:

                Let’s grant for argument’s sake that open borders would destroy the welfare state. (I’m pretty sure this isn’t true in the real world, but work with me here.)

                First — should libertarians be upset? Seems like we’re getting a twofer, no?

                Second — if we should care, and if we do want to prop up the welfare state, then the right approach is to change our tax system so it collects more from the immigrants. Don’t prohibit them from coming, just make them pay enough to keep the status quo.

                It seems very obvious that either alternative maximizes liberty relative to “keep them out to save the welfare state.”Report

              • Avatar dexter in reply to E.D. Kain says:

                I bet you have a job that does not involve working outside in the summer. I bet you never went to a construction site and nobody was speaking English. I bet your luck in life, your high IQ and your luck in having parents that instilled the value of education at an early age lets you not have to compete against people who are willing to work for less than the American who had that job before the superintendent discovered that illegals would work for less.
                What little I have read about illegal immigrants leaves me with the impression that the final conclusion depends on whether you have to compete against them. America has offshored more that nine million jobs in the last fifteen years. Add that number to the number of illegals and you have a buyers market for employers and you have to be able to see one of the reasons for the depressed wages for people who actually make things.Report

              • Avatar Ryan B in reply to MFarmer says:

                It sort of depends on what aspect of the welfare state we’re talking about. I’m pretty sure “common sense” (which is always and everywhere the sneaky way of pretending your own ideological assumptions are reality) tells us that more immigration is great for the solvency of Social Security and Medicare, probably not great for Medicaid, unclear for the health care system (I’m not sure if immigrants are especially unhealthy), and probably bad for some other things (TANF?). We hardly have anything left in the US that could properly be called “welfare”, at least not in the way we did before the 90s, so a lot of this is kind of hand-wavy.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to Ryan B says:

                If you open the border, a large group will demand all sorts of welfare to supplement what we have, and they will be a voting bloc the Democrats can’t refuse.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer says:

                Look at the history of welfare states, then look at what would happen if we opened the borders — it just won’t work, not when many politicians are trying to expand the welfare rolls for political power.Report

              • Avatar Ryan B in reply to MFarmer says:

                Which politicians? And what the hell are the “welfare rolls”? People who get Social Security? Medicare? Medicaid?Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to MFarmer says:

                But an open borders policy is nowhere near the table. Nowhere even close. We’re talking about immigration reform and Paul’s proposal is to end the welfare state. I mean, there are probably dozens of other steps we could take to improve the solution beyond either A) protect our borders rah rah rah! and B) end the welfare state.Report

              • Avatar Ryan B in reply to MFarmer says:

                So… your opposition to immigration is that you imagine new immigrants to the United States will not be libertarians, and they will then subsequently vote for non-libertarian policy? And you call this a libertarian argument?Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Ryan B says:

                Actually this is typically the argument from conservatives (or one of them). It’s also an argument against welfare. It’s also a very bad argument that is not necessarily true.Report

              • Avatar Ryan B in reply to Ryan B says:

                Right, but it’s conservative, not libertarian. There is nothing libertarian about denying human beings the freedom of movement because you don’t think they’ll vote correctly.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to Ryan B says:

                You can’t have the statist system we have and have open borders — it would not add to freedom, but it would eventually kill freedom —- we have to end the statist system, make it free, then we can open borders, but first things first. Your call for freedom through open borders is the dodge — end the welfare state and create a free system — but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards for most liberals. And implying this is a conservative position is stupid.Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Ryan B says:

                Mike – the open borders question is obscuring the relevant topic of Paul’s views on immigration. Open borders is a really tough thing to envision for tons of reasons, but that is – once again – a long way from the actual potential policy ideas out there right now.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to Ryan B says:

                Well, E.D., we were talking about open borders, and that’s what I was responding to — if the you want to change the subject, then fine.

                But if the borders aren’t secured, in effect we have open borders, so Paul is for securing the borders, but he’s not for rounding up illegals — he knows that’s not practical. It seems the issue is how do we stop the flow of illegal immigrants — you either secure the border, or you allow people to openly cross at places they aren’t checked. It can’t be good for so many illegals to be in the country — something has to give at some point.Report

              • Avatar Silus Grok in reply to Ryan B says:

                Mike … we HAVE open borders. We’ve never successfully closed them — and probably never will. Partly because it’s not practicable, partly because the costs of even TRYING to do it are so high that it would require a larger consensus in the nation to pay for it — a consensus that won’t happen because Americans, by and large, understand the great contributions these immigrants make to our Way of Life™.Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Ryan B says:

                Mike we’re not just talking about open borders. The point of the discussion was Ron Paul’s take on border control. Either way it doesn’t matter. There are many steps that could be taken between totally closed borders and totally open borders that would be better than the ad hoc system we have now.Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to MFarmer says:

                Ryan – you seem to be under the impression that most libertarians are not, in fact, just conservatives who call themselves libertarians…Report

              • Avatar Ryan B in reply to E.D. Kain says:

                For the first time in maybe my whole life, I’m trying to give them the benefit of the doubt, and you’re the one trying to ruin that?Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to E.D. Kain says:

                I’m just pointing out that liberal libertarianism is much less common than rightwing libertarianism.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to MFarmer says:

                > Common sense tells us the more
                > people we add to the welfare roles,
                > the faster we’ll collapse.

                Sure. This presupposes that there is enough incoming dead weight to overwhelm the incoming working population. Which is certainly a reasonable hypothesis.

                On the other hand, your most productive years are 20-55. If we bring in a lot of 20-55 year old people that have conversational English and a trade, we’re adding to our workforce without having to pay for their upbringing and education (huge wins)… and if they go home when they retire, they’re not on the SS rolls either (double win).

                So maybe not open borders. But that’s a function of the cost of living, the minimum wage, the welfare state, and our trade imbalance. Not just the welfare state. Certainly “more open than what we have” can be defensible.Report

              • Avatar Silus Grok in reply to MFarmer says:

                This is only true if you believe that people on any form of state aid are a complete and utter zero in the productivity column. Which they aren’t. Every person that comes to this country is both a user and creator of resources. They consume goods; they pay sales taxes; they contribute to genetic and cultural diversity; and their children are often (anecdotally) very hard workers inspired by their parents’ sacrifices.

                And were I better researcher, I’d point to recent reports that suggest that even by the numbers, immigrants — legal and otherwise — are definitely a boon.Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Silus Grok says:

                Try this paper on for size. It backs what you’re saying with some good data.Report

              • Avatar Silus Grok in reply to E.D. Kain says:

                Thanks! 🙂Report

      • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Ryan B says:

        Also, at Forbes today I have a longish piece up on the Texas ‘miracle’ and immigration that’s pertinent to this discussion.Report

      • Avatar kenB in reply to Ryan B says:

        I’m not well versed in libertarian theory, but it seems like if you don’t reject the legitimacy of the state entirely (and my understanding is that libertarians != anarchists), then you have to accept some sort of access control, either to membership in the state or to access to the state’s own resources. If the state owns the roads, for example, why can’t the state legitimately control access to those roads just like an individual property owner can? If the state offers a promise of security to its members, why can’t it decide who’s encompassed by that promise?Report

    • Avatar b-psycho in reply to kenB says:

      If someone crosses the border unannounced, blends into a neighborhood, and then rapes somebody, there is a victim — the person that was raped. If someone crosses the border unannounced, blends into a neighborhood, and gets a job, there is no victim. A “libertarianism” that allowed for the latter immigrant to be treated as a criminal contradicts itself, since that one isn’t harming anyone.

      Part of the reason for the kind of issues that anti-immigration politicians bark about is actually because legal immigration is too strict, so many immigrants who in a sane system would’ve simply been let in end up taking the same routes as actual criminals. Attempts to address this don’t get traction because there’s a small-yet-vocal faction whose view of immigration is fueled by the ridiculous assumption that without maintenance of a certain ethnic blend Real Amurricuh will vanish. You can’t talk immigration reform with people who think immigration itself is bad.Report

      • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to b-psycho says:

        Agreed entirely. Immigration is a victimless crime, and libertarians should treat it just like all other victimless crimes — legalize it.Report

        • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

          …don’t criticize it…yeah yeah.Report

        • Avatar dexter in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

          Alcoholism is a victimnless crime as long as one stays home and does not beat their spouse, but when they leave the house and drive it cost me money and is against the law. As long as the people here illegally don’t work they don’t cost me money, but when they work they cost me money so it is not a victimless crime and therefore should be prosecuted.
          If you really believe that the illegals are only taking jobs that Americans won’t do, then you are not in construction, you probably sit in front of a computor in an air conditioned office using your education to figure new ways to lower the wages of people who actually produce things.Report

          • Avatar Murali in reply to dexter says:

            Look, even if immigrants go to america and work, they are not necessarily taking your job. In fact, immigrants would stimulate demand and create more jobs.Report

          • Avatar b-psycho in reply to dexter says:

            Actually I work in retail for peanuts. Nice try though.

            As for the “jobs Americans won’t do” thing, if the employers in question offered a decent wage plenty of Americans would take those jobs. That they prefer to hire illegal immigrants for them is because with their legal status they can’t criticize their work arrangements. It’s a matter of labor power, the immigration angle is just a tool to maintain the imbalance.Report

      • Avatar Mike in reply to b-psycho says:

        “If someone crosses the border unannounced, blends into a neighborhood, and gets a job, there is no victim.”

        Bullshit. Someone legally in the country who was eligible for that job is unable to earn a living now. They’re the victim.Report

        • Avatar Silus Grok in reply to Mike says:

          Jobs aren’t due any one. There’s no such thing as a soulmate for jobs. And the jobs that illegal immigrant do ( notice I don’t say “take” ) have — time and again — been proven to be jobs that others won’t do. There’s no tit-for-tat in the jobs market.Report

        • Avatar b-psycho in reply to Mike says:

          So when an employer hires an illegal immigrant because they have even less power than the average person to negotiate a decent wage due to their citizenship status it’s the immigrants’ fault & not the employer?Report

  3. Avatar Ryan B says:

    That original Yglesias post is mind-bendingly dumb. “I can’t imagine why libertarians support an antiwar candidate who is extremely critical of US drug policy.” Really, Wiggles? It’s either concern trolling or he’s a moron. Given most of what he writes, I suspect I know which.Report

  4. Avatar Jean LeTennier says:

    Having read your article, I am distressed that you advocate the lunacy of the times we live in. I do not agree with everythign DR Ron Paul says (especially on Abortion). but What is very clear from a PURELY historical perspective, is that we (THE USA) is being man-handled by the Federal reserve and her partners.
    We lived with out the FED for 140 years and did very well, TOO WELL! We presently pay interest ( as a country) for Borrowing our own MONEY to a group of PRIVATE BANKS.. Imagine a US TREASURY that can PRINT it’s own currency and can be controlled and voted on by the PEOPLE, the FUTURE of the USA would really be unlimited.. but with this ALBATROS (FED) around our necks , KISS AMERICA Goodbye.. another thing to keep in mind, the USA still represents over 15 TRILLION DOLLARS GDP without the FINANCIAL SYSTEM (4 x larger than the next closest (China 2.7). THE REAL TRUTH is the Financial System needs us, but WE don’t need the FINANCIAL SYSTEM.. and China dissapears if we stop buying from them (40% of their GDP comes here) So in reality the Country is fine, and the only people screwing it up are the BANKERS because they don’t want to realize their losses on huge bets.. and they want the Citizens to pay for them, so since they control the VALUE of the DOLLAR, they are going to DEVALUE it until their LOSSES can be realized and not put them out of business… American busineses know this and that’s why they are holding massive CASH RESERVES(more that triple anytime in history), because those reserves are being devalued every day.. so if a company has 250 million in cash in JAN, by June is it worth only 200 MILLION.. and by next year maybe 125 million.. So no company can afford to hire, not knowing what will happen to their positions from one month to the next… I am voting RON PAUL, and I am a DEMOCRAT by nature.. but he is the only one making SENSE..Report

  5. Avatar MFarmer says:

    Republicans should read Thomas E. Woods — Yglesias should read him, too.Report

  6. Avatar Jean LeTennier says:

    Let us not forget HiSTORY , most especially BRITISH History fo the 1800s.. how Rothschild and comapnay basically took possesion of the BANK of England after the fall of Napoleon. and how for 100 years England spent her entire time involved in one WAR after another from AFRICA to INDIA and yes even to AMERICA, all FINANNED by the SAME BANKING Consortium, that presently runs the US FEDERAL RESERVE … any of this looking familiar?Report

  7. Avatar MFarmer says:

    If I stacked up Obama’s economic views, the actions of the Fed under Obama, his performance on immigration and foreign intervention and placed them beside Paul’s beliefs and proposals, I choose Paul.Report

    • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to MFarmer says:

      Like I said, when it comes to the two issues that Paul is undoubtedly better than Obama on – war and drugs – I choose Paul also. But some of his other views are still wrong.Report

    • Avatar Ryan B in reply to MFarmer says:

      What actions has the Fed taken? Tight monetary policy seems like the kind of thing that would appeal to you, so I can’t imagine what the complaint is here. We’ve had almost no inflation for over two years now.

      That said, I also choose Paul.Report

      • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Ryan B says:

        I think it’s fair to point out where Paul is wrong or unattractive and still support him over the current administration based solely on major civil liberties issues.Report

        • Avatar MFarmer in reply to E.D. Kain says:

          Of course you can, but I doubt Ygelsias is campaigning for Paul. How some liberals can still choose Obama boggles my mind.Report

          • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to MFarmer says:

            It’s because the vast majority of Republicans running are probably worse. Well, that’s my opinion anyways. Politics in America is the art of determining the lesser of two evils.Report

            • Avatar Ryan B in reply to E.D. Kain says:

              As unsatisfactory as that is, it’s almost certainly the right answer. If you’re still of the mind that you have to vote for someone from one of the major parties (as I’m not), then Obama is pretty obviously superior to his opponents. Which, as you say, ain’t sayin’ much.Report

            • Avatar Jeff in reply to E.D. Kain says:

              It’s because the vast majority of Republicans running are probably worse.

              Exactly. The Ledbetter act and the demise of DADT would not have come under any Republican **before** the Tea Party took control. The thought of Bachmann, Palin or Perry as President should give any sane person shivers. It was bad enough in 2009, when every single Republican kissed the ring of a hatefilled racist. Now, when they do that **AND** pucker up for a man who should have been drowned in the flood-waters of Katrina, it’s Obama or else.

              There’s a LOT about Obama that bothers me — when Gitmo came up, he should have shown John Giotti rotting in prison, for example — but given the choices, and the poisonous atmosphere the Tea Party has created, he’ll have to do.Report

      • Avatar MFarmer in reply to Ryan B says:

        Ryan, inflation is when money is poured into the economy — you’re mixing up inflation with price hikes, yet we have seen higher prices for gas and food, and if the economy started to improve, you’d see high prices across the board — the Fed has artificially kept interest rates low and they have poured money into the economy — it helps the rich who get the money first at current prices, but later when the money gets to regular people, inflation will likely eat it up. Prices will rise across the board, unless the economy never recovers.Report

        • Avatar Ryan B in reply to MFarmer says:

          The Fed has certainly kept interest rates low, but the claim that it has poured money into the economy is just flatly incorrect. It has not.Report

        • Avatar Ryan B in reply to MFarmer says:

          Here’s a reasonably nice rundown from CNN:

          http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/2011/02/18/how-the-fed-prints-money-without-any-ink/

          The largest problem for Paul and his supporters is that they just don’t understand financial economics. That’s why idiots like Yglesias can get away with pinging away at them and never have to explain why he supports a sociopathic mass murderer for president.Report

          • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Ryan B says:

            See I’m not sure why you’re so hard on Yglesias here. Most liberals still support Obama.Report

            • Avatar Ryan B in reply to E.D. Kain says:

              Mostly just because he started this post. Also a little because he is kind of uniquely pompous among the rest of the establishment liberal bloggers. He, like Megan McArdle on the other side, has an incredible talent for saying really, really dumb things.

              But you’re right that he’s not substantially worse than a lot of others. Kevin Drum has recently had all kinds of annoying things to say about Ron Paul that should draw the same reaction from me.Report

            • Avatar Ryan B in reply to MFarmer says:

              Oh God, I lost interest at “the Austrian definition”.Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Ryan B says:

                You know, Austrians are really useful in a few ways – Hayek’s use of knowledge stuff, understanding incentives, etc. – but monetary policy is not their strong suit.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to Ryan B says:

                Refute it. You believe in smoke and mirrors — I don’t. But we’ll all know the truth soon enough — reality always wins.Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to MFarmer says:

                I know Mike. Your beliefs are all so pure and good. The rest of us merely dabble in illusions, while you speak the truth. Preach it from the mountain, brother, lest we all forget your sanctimony.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to E.D. Kain says:

                What I meant, is that what is true will be revealed soon enough, the economy is what it is and we’ll all see the outcome as it unfolds — not I have the truth and will reveal it from a mountaintop — why are you so punchy today?Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to MFarmer says:

                I’m punchy today because I get annoyed when people make it sound like theirs is the only truth and everyone else is just dabbling in smoke and mirrors.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer says:

                But you still haven’t refuted the article. Making fun of me doesn’t answer the Austrian’s claim that the money supply is exploding. I would think that those who want to stop the game of the rich being protected and enriched even further by the power elites such as Bernanke, would be more curious as to what’s really going on with monetary policy. Read Thomas E. Woods — he makes a lot of sense.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer says:

                Did I say mine was the only truth? I said what I believe and that’s all — then I said we would soon know who’s right. I’m tired of your fucking baseless accusations. I’ve done nothing inappropriate here.Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to MFarmer says:

                You said “You believe in smoke and mirrors. I don’t.” So yeah, you’re basically saying exactly what I’m saying. I’m tired of your baseless accusations that I’m baselessly accusing you of something. If you want to go pout, go pout. Go off in a grand huff. Storm out and slam the door behind you. I don’t mind debating you, Mike (and sometimes we even agree!) but this nonsense about smoke and mirrors is *exactly* what I’m talking about when I say you lay claim to truths while others merely dabble in illusions. Read your own damn comment before getting so irate.Report

              • Avatar Sam M in reply to MFarmer says:

                “I get annoyed when people make it sound like theirs is the only truth and everyone else is just dabbling in smoke and mirrors.”

                In fairness, you just wrote “Immigration is simply a net good for the country.”

                You might be right in the final calculus. But the “simply” seems to be doing an awful lot of work. If I am a low-skilled worker, I might think you consider that statement the only truth.Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to MFarmer says:

                Sam – I think we can make claims about what is right and wrong without at the same time claiming that others believe in illusions while we believe in the truth. Immigration is messy business. I think the data points to it being beneficial. Others may disagree. I may be wrong, fine, I don’t know. I won’t say that they believe in illusions. They may not have read the data the same as me, etc.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to E.D. Kain says:

                “You’re right, Mike. It’s still a stupid argument. People can be both right and wrong, smart and dumb, depending on the issue.”

                And I suppose this is different. I stated that I beleive it’s smoke and mirrors, just like you believe the above is a stupid argument — it was my argument. You are a hypocrit. And you all say I huffed off in the past. I left because the comment section was unbearable, not because I was mad or my feelings were hurt. I have a business to take care of so I like to make good use of my time, and at the time I left, I was diappointed in the number of stupid comments I had to endure to particpate here. I thought it had changed, so I came back. But framing how I left as huffing and puffing is dishonest. I wrote a comment to say I was leaving because I like to give constructive criticism to a place I care about, and I liked this place for a long time. You are screwing it up, though, now. I have no idea why you want to pick on my comments that are no different than many comments here when people feel strongly about their positions — you appear to be harrassing me for some reason. I don’t care, though, it’s your problem, not mine.Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to MFarmer says:

                Mike – First, there is a huge difference between saying an argument is dumb and saying that your opponents believe in smoke and mirrors. Second, I engage with you because I do respect your ideas right up to the point you start saying stuff like this. There are commenters who say plenty of things I find ridiculous who I have no interest in engaging at all.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer says:

                “First, there is a huge difference between saying an argument is dumb and saying that your opponents believe in smoke and mirrors.”

                Come on, man, you know this is weak. I even softened the smoke and mirrors comment, which wasn’t harsh, because I’m claiming the Fed is using smoke and mirrors to hide their actions (wow, how awful) and that Ryan believes the trick, by saying we’ll know the truth soon enough — in other words, one of us will be right and reality will determine it. Just admit that you are wrong here. You are wrong, and of this I’m certain.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer says:

                Plus, I didn’t see you stepping in on the global warming thread when many people said they had the scientific truth and anyone who is a sceptic is the lowest form of intelligence in existence. There are some areas in which I’ve done a lot of study — and I hold strong beliefs in these areas — this doesn’t mean I think I possess the Truth and that I’m on a mountaintop preaching to the ignorant. I suspect I’ve read and sudied more about the Fed and economics than most people here.Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to MFarmer says:

                Wait, now I’m in trouble for *not* doing something?Report

  8. Avatar MFarmer says:

    It’s not really accurate to call for what passes here as a form of libertarianism libertarianism, it’s not libertarian at all really, just a liberal spin to avoid the absolute failures of progressivism.Report

    • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to MFarmer says:

      Oh right, of course. Only what you think is libertarianism passes for libertarianism. The rest are all frauds.

      Of course, I’ve described myself as liberal / market liberal / neoliberal / liberal-libertarian etc. So you don’t have to worry about me claiming to be a libertarian and stealing your thunder or anything. Perish the infernal thought.Report

      • Avatar MFarmer in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        That’s not what I meant — don’t get upset, I have plenty of thunder to share. It’s just that libertarianism is based on certain principles. (I didn’t set the definition and the principles, so your accusation is silly) and to dilute it with liberal ideology appears unfair to libertarianism, and it doesn’t help the libertarian project. It obscures libertarianism.Report

  9. Avatar MFarmer says:

    It’s sort of like what Freddie says about his Left-communist position, that he doesn’t it watered down by modern liberalsim.Report

  10. Avatar Shawn Gude says:

    I like most of this post, but no one needs to read more Thomas Friedman.Report

  11. I’d consider this hackery from Yglesias. Ron Paul’s opinions on the Fed and the gold standard may be unorthodox, but they are not “ridiculous” or “nutty” simply because Matt Yglesias asserts them to be so. The Congress has the constitutional authority to coin money and manage the money supply. This is a power the Congress gave to the Federal Reserve a hundred years ago. Ron Paul thinks the Congress should take that power back since the Fed is at least somewhat complicit in the last recession. I partially agree with Ron Paul, in that I believe there should be more Congressional oversight of the Fed à la the recent audit bill Paul co-sponsored with Barney Frank. How exactly is the idea that a democratically elected Congress at least have the final say on how currency is administered in this country “ridiculous”?

    Tagging the currency to the intrinsically useless fiat gold is the same as tagging the currency to the intrinsically useless fiat word of the present government. In advocating a return to the gold standard, Paul is not saying that we should all buy gold and lock ourselves in our basements. He’s making the claim that gold represents a safer medium of exchange than the word of the U.S. government. Essentially, he’s downgrading the U.S. government’s credit rating and suggesting instead that we tether our money supply to something which empirically throughout the ages has been a continuous and relatively safe store of value for hundreds of generations. This is not “nutty”.Report

  12. Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

    http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/story/ron-paul-takes-abortion-most-important-issue-our-age

    “Stuck in Washington as Congress faces votes on continued funding of American military action in Libya, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, making his third bid for the White House, spoke via Skype to pro-life activists convening in Jacksonville.
    “I talk a lot about right-to-life,” said Paul, who called it “the most important issue of our age.””

    Ron Paul’s an isolationist conservative goldbug, not a libertarian.Report

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